Dr. Lineup: The 2011 San Francisco Giants
Sunday February 27th, 2011
The defending World Series Champions understand that they didn't win the title strictly with their offense in 2010. However, It was their excellent pitching and timely hitting during the post-season that helped capture a title. If they are to repeat in 2011, they will need similar fortune at the right time. Interestingly enough, during the 2010 regular season, the Giants ranked dead last in the National League while hitting with runners in scoring position (RISP), posting a.248 batting average.
The team stayed idle in terms of adding players this off-season. They lost two post-season heroes when Edgar Renteria signed with the Cincinnati Reds and Juan Uribe inked a deal with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. Other than signing veteran shortstop Miguel Tejada, the team didn't add to the offense from last season. Here is how the San Francisco Giants could look to start 2011:
- Andres Torres, CF
- Freddy Sanchez, 2B
- Aubrey Huff, 1B
- Buster Posey, C
- Cody Ross, RF
- Pat Burrell, LF
- Miguel Tejada, SS
- Pablo Sandoval , 3B
- Pitcher Slot
Although Mark DeRosa isn't listed on the initial starting lineup, he'll be vying for playing time in spring training. Early reports have Pat Burrell leading the competition for the starting left field job, however DeRosa will likely see at-bats throughout the season, as he's a super-utility player. During the past two seasons, Burrell has struggled against left-handed pitching, posting a .202 batting average against lefties in 2009 and just .213 a year ago. When DeRosa is in the lineup, he'll likely hit seventh or eighth, causing players to shift up a spot.
The first two hitters in the lineup will be looked upon as the "table setters", as their success will help the rest of the lineup. Andres Torres is coming off of a surprising 2010, hitting .268 with 16 home runs and 26 stolen bases from the leadoff spot. However, the 33-year-old outfielder saw his first full season in 2010, as last season was the first year Torres has posted over 200 plate appearances in a season. His .331 batting average on balls in play (BAbip) suggests that most of his offensive production last season could be a fluke. Freddy Sanchez, a career .298 hitter, will likely hit second, but health concerns always make him a liability. Although Sanchez makes consistent contact and hits for a .300 average, his 4.9 career walk percentage (BB%) is below the major league average (8.6%).
Pablo Sandoval has reportedly arrived at camp 38 pounds lighter than his weight in 2010, showing a commitment to improve upon a disappointing 2010 season. In 2009, Sandoval showed great promise, hitting .330 with 25 home runs and 90 RBI during his first full big league season. He took a massive step back last year, hitting .263 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI. However, at just 24 years old, there's a general consensus among fans that he'll bounce-back and produce like he did in 2009. Regardless, the Giants are hoping he'll provide enough power production to warrant a move closer to the middle of the batting order.
Due to the lack of offensive acquisitions this off-season, the Giants will once again rely on excellent pitching and timely hitting for success in 2011.
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